11.6.2010 Audi A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI review
Audi has created the premium sector's lowest CO2 car with a special three-door version of the A3 using its all-new, economy optimised common rail 1.6 TDI engine with engine stop-start and energy recovery system.
Changing the final drive ratio for the otherwise standard five-speed manual transmission and lowering the ride height, together with reduced aerodynamic drag and smaller diameter wheels with low rolling resistance tyres has dropped the C02 from 109g/km to 99g/km. The official combined fuel consumption is 74.3mpg.
Review by Russell Bray for WhatGreenCar.com
Audis don't tend to attract buyers looking for sporty performance and in day-to-day driving this A3 acquits itself well enough. Wind it up and it will bend the speedo needle to 121mph with the 0-62mph sprint taking a tyre scrabbling 11.4 seconds. Gentler driving makes better use of the 103bhp at 4400rpm and there's a good slab of torque (184lbs ft) from 1500rpm to 2500rpm so be prepared to change gear for best effect. Brisk A-road and motorway slogging saw 49.6mpg with a best of 64mpg cruising at lower speed.
Safe and predictable so tends more towards the indolent than dynamic, but pleasant enough most of the time. Nicely weighted feel to the steering. Not enough power to get into trouble unless you do something really stupid. Road-holding in the wet felt less than with normal rather than fuel saving tyres.
Usual elegant, restrained styling that has won Audi so many friends. Slightly shorter than five-door versions but still manages to look sleek thanks to long, low roofline. This version runs 1in smaller diameter seven-spoke alloy wheels on low rolling resistance tyres but manages not to look an under-tyred economy special which would be social death in this premium sector of the market. Length 4238mm. Width 1765mm.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
It's all logical, sensible stuff here and top notch quality with deliberate and accurate major and minor controls and switchgear. Frequently touched controls such as steering wheel and gearknob benefit from leather trim. Everything is easy to understand and operate, especially if you have driven an Audi before. Instruments have black dial faces and red needles.
Ride quite firm, partly because of stiffer low rolling resistance tyres which help reduce fuel consumption.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Official figures: Urban 60.1mpg, extra-urban (some out of town motoring) 85.6mpg, combined 74.3mpg. My real world test driving saw 54mpg around town, 49.6mpg on brisk A-roads and a best of 64mpg. Carbon dioxide emissions of only 99g put this A3 Sportback into band where no road tax is due. Insurance is group 14. Warranty covers three years/60,000 miles.
Start-stop system conserves fuel by cutting engine power at idle when the clutch pedal is released and the gear lever in neutral. Engine restarts when the clutch is depressed. A proportion of the wasted kinetic energy under braking is stored temporarily in the battery to reduce engine load when the car accelerates again. Fuel saving up to 3%.Attention to body streamlining saves fuel at cruising speeds. Gear change indicator encourages economic driving style with early upshifts. The A3's efficiency attributes give it a Next Green Car Rating of 36, which is impressive for its size.
Reasonable equipment for your money and includes alloy wheels, power steering, manual air conditioning, remote control central locking, electric front windows, electric mirrors split-folding rear seats and a radio with single CD player. But leather upholstery is £1,200, metallic paint £500, cruise control £215, rear parking sensors £300 and satellite navigation £870.
Model tested: Audi A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI
Body-style: Three-door hatchback
Engine/CO2: 103bhp 1.6 litre turbo diesel / 99gCO2/km
Trim grades: standard only
On-road price: £18,005. Test car £18,005
Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles
In the showroom: Available now
Review rating: 4.0 STARS
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